Plastics

Chavistas pull a Benjamin Braddock.

One of Venezuela’s many under-reported stories is the series of troubles in state-owned petrochemical giant PEQUIVEN.

A loyal reader has been writing me for months, talking about the difficulties in getting polyethylene, which is used to make, among other things, wrappers for food packages and plastic bags.

Until recently, Venezuela was an exporter of these types of resins. Now, we import the stuff. But problems with supply have been increasing as of late, causing all sorts of problems for companies that use this plastic to sell their stuff. These folks are seriously cutting back on investment and production.

As our reader tells it, many staples, from rice to flour to sugar, use polyethylene in their packaging.  The Pequiven refinery at El Tablazo, Zulia, was in charge of production, but El Tablazo is simply not what it used to be, and Pequiven cannot keep up with demand.

Unsurprisingly, Coramer, the company in charge of distributing the polyethylene, has a charming little greeting sign when you click on its home page.

In researching this post, I discovered another blog solely dedicated to the petrochemical industry. The blog reports all sorts of shortages in the plastics industry, including polyethylene and in other types of resins as well, such as PVC.

I guess this, added to the slow demise of the newspaper industry, means that pretty soon Venezuelans will have to buy their food wrapped in banana leaves, just like our endogenous ancestors did.

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